Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Cheltenham Town

  • November 27, 2021 | By Chris Mann
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Xavier Amaechi and Elias Kachunga were on target as Bolton twice came from behind to claim a point in a 2-2 draw with Cheltenham Town.

Wanderers fell behind on 14 minutes when Alfie May slotted in from close range but they were only down for 12 minutes as Amaechi pounced on some panicky defending to fire past Scott Flinders in the Robins goal.

The visitors went back in front in the closing seconds of the first period, with May latching on to a through pass that had gotten the better of both Will Aimson and Liam Gordon before calmly stroking the ball into the far corner.

Kachunga ensured the game would end all-square shortly before the hour, though, as he drifted in from the left-hand side before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the far corner that gave Flinders absolutely no chance.

With absences continuing to bite hard, Ian Evatt made two enforced changes from Tuesday's victory over Doncaster Rovers as George Johnston replaced the injured Lloyd Isgrove and Amaechi came in for the suspended Oladapo Afolayan.

Wanderers were slow to get going and it was Cheltenham who created the first shooting opportunity as May gave a glimpse of what would come later, breaking clear of the defence but only finding the gloves of Joel Dixon.

Dixon was on hand again with 10 minutes played, this time denying Liam Sercombe after he had been put in the clear by Kyle Vassell, but the early pressure paid off with 14 minutes played as May latched on to a flick from Dan Crowley before firing low past the Trotters goalkeeper at his near post.

Amaechi then sprung to life, racing away from Grant Horton before seeing his low cross turned goalwards by Eoin Doyle, moments before he cut in from the left flank and let fly from the edge of the box, with Flinders relieved to see the ball flash inches wide of the target.

The loanee didn't have to wait much longer for his maiden strike, though, with a goalmouth scramble from Kieran Lee's ball across the face of the six-yard box eventually slamed home with some composure by Amaechi to make it 1-1.

Chris Hussey almost caught out Dixon with a quickly taken free-kick from range with seven minutes of the half to play, shortly before a neat move involving Gordon and Declan John ended with Amaechi firing wide from the edge of the area.

George Thomason and Amaechi both came close to putting the hosts ahead deep in the first-half, but it was Cheltenham who took a lead in the break as May got on the end of a through ball before slotting into the far corner in the fourth added minute for stoppages.

Bolton thought they had drawn level for a second time within four minutes of the restart as Ricardo Almeida Santos fired in a rebound after Thomason's initial attempt was parried, but the assistant had raised his flag and the goal was ruled out.

Gordon, a naturally left-footed player, looked uncomfortable at times on the right-hand side and his finishing let him down on 52 minutes, as he fired high into the stand after Doyle had stolen possession from Hussey.

Flinders threw himself to his left to keep out a flicked header from Doyle four minutes later, but he was left clutching at air soon before the hour as Kachunga picked out the far corner with an outstanding individual goal that brought the scores level at 2-2.

After chasing the game for much of the afternoon, Wanderers were now on top and looking most likely to take a lead - with Amaechi curling an effort narrowly over the top as the clock ticked beyond the hour.

Still, though, Cheltenham looked a threat from set-pieces and they would have gone ahead for a third time on 65 minutes as Crowley's corner was headed goalwards by Kyle Joseph, only for Aimson to nod it off the line and behind with a crucial interception.

Kachunga tricked his way past a number of Town defenders before threading a ball through to Doyle on 75 minutes, only for the Irish forward to see his side-footed attempt blocked by the legs of Flinders.

Gordon fired over soon thereafter after John's cross had picked out his opposite full-back at the far post, shortly before Kachunga flicked over as John pushed forward once again down the left.

John's runs down that flank almost resulted in a winning goal in stoppage time but substitute Alex Baptiste was this time the guilty party, volleying over at the back stick from a position where Wanderers would have been praying for a striker.

The draw sees both sides drop one place in the League One standings - Cheltenham (11th), Bolton (12th) - with league action taking a break next weekend due to the second round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Wanderers, however, return to action this coming Tuesday when they host Fleetwood Town in the Papa John's Trophy, round of 32.

Bolton Wanderers: Dixon, John, Aimson, Santos, Gordon (Baptiste 84), Johnston, Thomason, Amaechi (Delfouneso 70), Lee, Kachunga, Doyle
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Tweedley, Conway, Henry, Pettifer
Booked: Thomason
Goals: Amaechi 26, Kachunga 58

Cheltenham Town: Flinders, Horton, Long, Pollock, Joseph, Sercombe, Chapman, Hussey, Crowley (Williams 89), Vassell (Wright 62), May (Norton 84)
Subs Not Used: Evans, Barkers, Armitage
Booked: Crowley
Goals: May 14,45+4

Referee: Ross Joyce
Attendance: 13,145

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2021/22 Player of the Year?
32.58% Oladapo Afolayan
30.96% Gethin Jones
21.72% Ricardo Almeida Santos
5.51% Declan John
4.05% Kieran Lee
3.08% MJ Williams
1.78% Joel Dixon
0.32% George Johnston